Social Facts and Figures
Starting salary Did you know?
Social work officially came into
worker Between £21,000 and £25,000.
existence in local authorities in the
1970s, but it originated in the 19th
century as philanthropists worked
Days’ holiday per year alongside courts, hospitals and
26 – 36.
workhouses to tackle the problems
Skills and experience of the poor.
Empathy, the ability to communicate with a wide range
of people and understand their needs and wishes are
Social work is all about helping people Degree needed essential qualities.
who are finding life tough. If you choose Social workers qualify by taking either an undergraduate
this career, you might be helping to social work degree or a shorter postgraduate course, and Would suit
they must register with the General Social Care Council. Those who are good with people and have a strong Number of people employed in this field
protect children from abuse or to keep desire to help others to improve their lives are likely
There are bursaries for full and part-time students. The General Social Care Council has registered more than
young offenders out of prison. Your to enjoy social work. 90,000 social workers and student social workers.
clients might be the elderly, people with From September 2007, newly qualified social workers will
Likely employer types
mental health problems or disabilities, have to complete their post-qualification award in social
• Local authorities
drug users, alcoholics or truants. All sorts work within two years of qualifying. There are also More information
numerous on-the-job training courses for those wanting • The Department of Health’s social work recruitment
of people need the understanding ear • Privately run care homes
to specialise in particular areas of social work, such website has information about careers in social work
and practical help of a social worker at • Prisons and hospitals
as mental health. www.socialworkandcare.co.uk
• Recruitment agencies
some stage of their lives. A social worker
can act as an advocate or friend, guiding How many jobs available? • The General Social Care Council oversees professional
clients through the law or benefits Good courses Demand varies. Child protection teams and local standards for social workers www.gscc.org.uk
system, dealing with other professionals, • BSc social work (University of the West of England) authorities in London have historically had staff
• BA and MA Social Work (Goldsmiths College, University shortages, but the problem is less acute in other • The British Association of Social Workers represents
keeping accurate records and sometimes of London) areas, according to the British Association of Social many social workers www.basw.org.uk
giving evidence in court. • BA Social Work (Manchester Metropolitan University) Workers (BASW).
• BA Social Work (University of Birmingham)
A 2005 survey for the Improvement and Development
Agency, which works with local authorities, found
88.8 per cent of councils struggled to recruit children’s
social workers and 72.5 per cent had trouble finding
social workers for adults.
Meet the expert
Simon Bream, “Social work is tough but it’s
Lambeth Youth worthwhile. You have to be
Simon Bream at work Offending Team
determined, well organised,
Social worker, Lambeth Youth Offending Team
thoughtful, caring and motivated by
Visit AskWhatIf.co.uk making things better for other people
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